The highest unemployment rate is listed at 37.9% for black teens, compared to 22.8% for white teens. But looking at adults, blacks deal with 14.3% for men and 12% for women, compared to an overall rate around 8%. The storyline is that there must be some racism going on. But what if you add in a few other questions, like:
· Education level?
· Family structure?
· Legal history?
I don’t have it all spelled out, but there is some evidence that some specific behaviors and choices are playing a part much more than racism.
What I heard that piqued my interest was that, with this apparent racial economic disparity, there’s a more-or-less apples-to-apples comparison that tells a different story. (All this is spelled out, with charts, in this piece by Robert Rector at The Heritage Foundation, including the charts below.)
Economic poverty is high among black families, but among black married households, the poverty rate is only 7%. That is about double the poverty rate of married white families, but it is only half the poverty rate (13.2%) among married Hispanic families. Meanwhile, among non-married black families the poverty rate is 35.6%, very close to the rate for non-married Hispanic families: 37.9%. (I’m assuming these families are defined as an unmarried parent, usually the mother, and at least one child under 18.) For non-married whites, poverty hovers around 22%.
Married black families have a poverty rate of less than a third of non-married whites. And that is before we take into account education level and other factors. Just for perspective, combining all races and education levels, non-married families have a poverty rate of 37.1%, and among married families that rate is 6.8%.
I don’t have data that separates out education level by race. But the data combining education levels and marital status is informative.
Single parents who are high school dropouts (of any age, so this averages in those who are 10 to 15 years into parenthood and may be gaining some employment experience) have a poverty rate of 58.8%. Being married brings that down to 24%—meaning you’re less than half as likely to be in poverty, even as a high school dropout, if you’re married—even to another high school dropout.
For high school graduates, non-married families are likely to be in poverty 38.8% of the time (just above the overall poverty rate for non-married families of any race or education level). But families with only a high school diploma and no other education, if they’re married are in poverty only 8.9% of the time. Married high school graduates have a better than 91% chance of avoiding poverty, just because they remain married.
Greater education improves things. Single parents can decrease their poverty rate to 27.8% with some college, and down to 10.6% if they graduate from college. Note that non-married educated parents don’t quite measure up to the chances of avoiding poverty that married high school graduates have, but clearly education helps. But these last two groups, if they’re married, have poverty rates of only 4.6% and 1.8% respectively.
So clearly college and marriage help. But marriage helps more than education. Add marriage to a college education, and you’ve improved your chances of avoiding poverty about 6-fold. You’ve virtually guaranteed rising to the middle class or better.
There is a formula for avoiding poverty that we’ve known about for quite a while. I wrote about it back in February, and first came across the data a decade ago. The more data we get, the more the basic truth becomes evident.
- Don’t have sex before age 20.
- Don’t have sex until after marriage.
- Stay married.
- Obtain at least a high school diploma.
My guess is that homes, churches, and private schools are going to be much better at inculcating this formula than government. Government is woefully ill equipped to educate, especially when the subject matter looks religious. But, religious looking or not, the data is simply factual.
Here at Spherical Model we’re aware that living a civilized life is much more likely to lead to financial prosperity than living an uncivilized life (savage, southern hemisphere on the spherical model). The political, economic, and civilization spheres overlay one another. That’s how we know that taking money from productive people and giving it to people in poverty will not and cannot lift those people out of poverty. Poverty can be solved—for an extremely high percentage of people from every race and gender—within a generation by following the formula. This will become even more evident if government gets out of the way of the country’s economic prosperity.
There may still be a percentage in poverty, even among those who try to do everything right. But already, among those who live the formula, the problem is so small, it would easily be solved by private philanthropy.
There are other, big, daunting problems worldwide. But if strong families praying together can, in a relatively short time historically speaking, solve poverty, then strong families praying about the other problems might yield the other solutions we hope for as well.
This election matters. It matters monumentally. It determines whether we continue in a direction that leads inevitably down to tyranny, poverty, and savagery, or in a direction back up toward the thriving our nation’s founders tried to make possible and permanent for us—“if you can keep it,” Benjamin Franklin added. So the election is something we must pay attention to.
But after the election, once our direction is determined (hopefully northward on the Spherical Model), then we have a lot of work to do, starting with our own homes and radiating out from there.